For a Good Time In Cambridge: E. O. Wilson edition

The man himself will be giving the third of the John M. Prather Lectures in Biology this afternoon.  The title:  “Consilience.”  The description:

The boundary between science on one side and the humanities and humanistic social sciences on the other is not an intrinsic epistemological divide but a broad borderland of previously poorly understood causal relationships. The borderland is now being explored, and offers increasing opportunities for collaboration across three great branches of learning. A definition of human nature will be offered and examples from the borderland will be used to illustrate it.

No one ever said Professor Wilson lacked ambition.

Time and place:  4 p.m., in the Harvard Science Center.  Map here, and more details on the lecture series here.

And a confession:  I’ll miss this one, as I missed the prior two, Monday and yesterday.  My teaching blocked Monday’s and today’s, while student work ate up yesterday, to my deep annoyance (having to, you know, actually do the job they pay you for can really suck sometimes).  But I can say that Edward O. Wilson is both one of the most important biological thinkers of the last half century and is a damn good speaker.  So if you have the chance, go and listen.

Image:  “Foraging ants (Eciton erratica) constructing a covered road—Soldiers sallying out on being disturbed.” from The Naturalist on the River Amazons by Henry Walter Bates, 1863.

Explore posts in the same categories: big ideas, Darwin, Environment, evolution, good public communication of science, Uncategorized

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4 Comments on “For a Good Time In Cambridge: E. O. Wilson edition”

  1. lichanos Says:

    Sorry I can’t hear him. He wrote a long essay on this topic, consilience, and another on biology and ethics, that were published in The Atlantic several years ago. Neither made much sense to me or seemed well argued. Perhaps he’s done some productive revising.

    The problem of understanding “root and branch” seems to bedevil scientific thinkers on these topics. In my experience, neuroscience is a great exception to this, but otherwise, people tend to fall into the groove of, “This has roots in that, therefore, this is simply that.” Or at least, that’s what his essays then were like.

  2. tdd Says:

    I have his book with the same title. It is about time I dusted it off and read it.

  3. Calming Influence Says:

    I’d love to hear him speak. Do you know if these lectures are recorded?


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